ULEZ Frequently Asked Questions
The ULEZ is designed to improve air quality in London by limiting vehicles that lead to high emissions of polluting gases. It imposes a daily charge on vehicles that drive through the zone, and which do not align to emission limits. The ULEZ originally only applied to central London, but it has now been expanded to encompass the area within the North and South Circular Roads. Here are our most frequently asked questions on the ULEZ.
- What does ULEZ mean?
- What is ULEZ?
- What is ULEZ compliant?
- How much is the ULEZ charge?
- When did ULEZ start?
- What does ULEZ compliant mean?
- What cars are exempt from ULEZ?
- Where is the ULEZ zone?
- How to pay ULEZ?
- Are London residents exempt?
- Does the congestion charge still apply?
What does ULEZ mean?
ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone. This makes it different to the LEZ, or Low Emission Zone, which does not apply to cars, at present.
What is ULEZ?
ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone, an area of London where drivers face a fine for driving high-polluting vehicles. The ULEZ has been in place since 2019 covering central London but in October 2021, the zone was extended to areas up to, but not including, the North Circular Road A406 and South Circular Road A205.
It does not matter if you live, work, or simply drive through London, all vehicles within the ULEZ zone must pay the daily charge. The exception to this is if a car is parked within the zone but not driven.
What is ULEZ compliant?
To be ULEZ compliant means a car must meet certain emission standards. At present, these standards are Euro 6 for diesel cars and Euro 4 for petrol cars. These standards outline the number of NOx gases (Nitrogen oxide gas created by nitrogen and oxygen combusting) that a car can emit:
- Euro 6 Diesel Emissions Standards (grammes per kilometre): 0.50 CO, 0.08 NOx, 0.005 PM
- Euro 4 Petrol Emissions Standards (grammes per kilometre): 1.0 g CO, 0.08 NOx, no limit PM
For electric cars, NOx gases are not an issue, as they are zero-emission, and therefore all ULEZ compliant.
How much is the ULEZ charge?
The ULEZ charge is £12.50 per day and runs every day of the year, even Christmas and New Year’s Day. No matter how long you spend in the zone, whether it’s one minute or one day, you will have to pay the charge. You will only be charged once per day, so you can enter and leave the zone as many times as you want within 12 hours and pay £12.50 fee once.
If you fail to pay the charge, you may be hit with a penalty charge notice, which can cost up to £160. You run the risk of a penalty charge notice if you:
- Are not exempt from the ULEZ charge and drive in the zone
- Have not paid the charge by midnight on the next working day after the first day of travel
- Did not register the vehicle with Transport for London (TFL)
- Made an error when registering your vehicle e.g. incorrect number plate
- Paid by post without allowing enough time for delivery
When did ULEZ start?
The ULEZ started in 2019 and was then extended on the 25th of October 2021. The ULEZ runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
What does ULEZ compliant mean?
A ULEZ compliant car meets Euro 6 emission standards if it runs on diesel and Euro 4 if it runs on petrol. This means that the car emits a limited level of NOx gases which contribute to pollution. Electric vehicles have no emissions, so they are exempt by default.
What cars are exempt from ULEZ?
You should make sure to check if your car is ULEZ compliant by using a ULEZ checker. Generally, diesel cars with a manufacturing date of September 2015 or later should be fine, as Euro 6 became standard for new vehicles around this time. For petrol cars, a manufacturing date of January 2006 or later should be Euro 4 compliant. Never assume you are ULEZ exempt without checking.
Where is the ULEZ zone?
The ULEZ zone is active in London covering central London and, as of 25th October 2021, all areas between (but not including) the North and South Circular roads. It does not operate in any other UK city at present, but Birmingham does have its own CAZ, or Clean Air Zone, and other cities are expected to soon follow.
How to pay ULEZ
The ULEZ charge can be paid in several ways. It’s important to remember that the charge must be paid by midnight on the next working day of your day of travel. You can pay the fee:
- Autopay if you regularly travel in the ULEZ zone
- On the TFL app
For all methods, you will require a payment card. Do not pay through unauthorised websites or through anyone posing as an official taking cash payments.
Are London residents exempt?
No, unless your vehicle is exempt due to being low emission, there are no special allowances made for local drivers.
Does the congestion charge still apply?
Yes, you will still have to pay the congestion charge if you drive in a congestion zone, as well as the ULEZ. Be sure to check if your car is exempt from either the congestion charge or the ULEZ.
Want to avoid the ULEZ charge? An electric vehicle may be the perfect solution. Read our handy guides on buying and owning an EV:
ULEZ checker – check compliance for your vehicle
How to sell an electric car
Electric cars — should you buy or sell?
Selling your car and the 2030 electric car switchover
What is a hybrid car and how do they work?
LPG cars — the ultimate guide
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
How & where to charge your electric car at home and on the road
Do electric cars pay the congestion charge?
Do electric cars need servicing?